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As marketing shifts to a digital world, it may come as little surprise that the majority of today’s marketers find digital media to be significantly (40%) or somewhat (47%) more effective than traditional media, with only 12% of marketers holding to the opinion that traditional media is more effective than digital. This is according to the latest report [download page] from Ascend2, which also reveals marketers’ digital plans for the year to come.

More than half (54%) of the marketers surveyed reported that one of their primary objectives for a digital marketing strategy to achieve in 2020 is to generate more sales leads, while half (49%) are looking to increase customer acquisition. These two objectives are also considered to be the two most challenging digital marketing obstacles respondents expect to face in 2020.

Increasing sales leads generated and customer acquisitions weren’t the only primary objectives marketers have set for their digital efforts in the year to come. The more than 270 marketing professionals surveyed say they also hope to achieve increased customer engagement (43%), improve brand awareness (38%), improve customer experience (33%), increase website visitor traffic (30%) and to a lesser extent improve contact data quality (14%).

How Will Marketers Achieve Their 2020 Objectives?

Last year, respondents to another survey from Ascend2 cited social media marketing as the most effective tactic used in a marketing strategy. This year, search engine optimization (SEO) is considered the most effective digital marketing tactic for 49% of respondents, while social media and blog posting (47%) moves down a notch.

Marketers also rank search and social ads (43%), personalization/content (43%) and email/newsletters (42%) as some of the most effective digital marketing tactics. Although online video marketing budgets are expected to increase across the globe amid plenty of enthusiasm over the channel, only one-third (33%) of respondents to this recent survey say that videos/motion graphics represent the most effective digital marketing tactic.

AI and chatbots were only considered one of their most effective tactics by 5% of the marketers surveyed. That said, many of the B2B marketers surveyed by Sagefrog Marketing Group said AI (36%) and chatbots (33%) are marketing strategies they plan to explore in 2020.

Investing in Marketing Tech

For CMOs, one of the most vital capabilities for supporting a marketing strategy is adopting and using a marketing technology strategy. Furthermore, marketers are adding new marketing technology frequently. This year, many marketers said they added to their marketing technology stack on either a quarterly (39%) or monthly (28%) basis.

Per Ascend2’s study, 8 in 10 respondents say they plan on continuing to invest in marketing technology either moderately (53% share) or significantly (27% share) in 2020. Furthermore, 15% share of respondents say they are planning to start investing in it. Only a small number (4%) say they are not planning on investing in marketing technology next year.

Recent data indicates that marketing technology occupies 30% of marketers’ budgets in North America.

The full Ascend2 report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Report findings are based on a survey from November 2019 of 278 marketing professionals. Respondents come from B2B (43%), B2C (38%) and B2B and B2C equally (17%) organizations of varying sizes.

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